Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Freddie Mac is seeking a reference librarian

I don't usually post job positions, especially for a job in McLean, VA, but this one caught my interest:

Freddie Mac is seeking a reference librarian to provide comprehensive research, database searching, interlibrary loan, document delivery and collection development services to Freddie Mac staff and consultants. Provide a full spectrum of complex and highly specialized searches, using in-depth knowledge of multiple commercial on-line systems, such as Dialog, Lexis/Nexis, and Factiva/Dow Jones. Job requires an ALA-accredited Master’s degree in Library or Information Science; three years experience as reference librarian in corporate or law library; and a broad knowledge of print and electronic reference sources.

Other duties include:
Marketing the library through various outreach efforts Managing relationship with online service providers, including establishing IDs and troubleshooting end-user issues Serials control Using available research tools to proactively monitor hot topics of interest to library clients Monitoring new technologies for use in corporate library environment

We are looking for a self-starter who is a curious, creative problem solver with a team orientation and strong customer service skills. As part of a small team, must be willing to pitch in on all aspects of corporate information resources work. Experience in providing research for the financial service sector a definite plus.

Freddie Mac is a shareholder-owned Fortune 500 company with an important public mission: to make home possible for more of America's families. To do this, we need smart, creative people from diverse backgrounds who want to
make a difference in other people's lives as well as their own. Freddie Mac is
an equal opportunity employer who firmly supports and recognizes the value of diversity.

Visit to apply online for position 201280. You may also send resumes to

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Is Cuil Cool?

A new search engine, Cuil - pronounced "cool" - started today. You can read all about its claims of being "better than Google" here and here, among many other places. Apparently, it was having start-up jityters, as one person indicated that one couldn't access it at all fotr a time.

But I got through and tried New York State Small Business Development Center; it actually suggested the whole name after I had typed New York State Sm

My result:
We didn’t find any results for "New York State Small Business Development Center"
Some reasons might be...

a typo. Please check your spelling.
your search includes a term that is very rare. Try to find a more common substitute.
too many search terms. Please try fewer terms.
Finally, try to think of different words to describe your search.

It’s the first item on Google. Meh.

And as a matter of vanity, I cuiled my blogs and they showed on the 7th page, while they're on the first page on Google.

As this writer noted: Cuil Not So Cool.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Librarians Of The Apocalypse

Star Wars, stand aside! Doctor Who, you're a piker!

"There IS a wise and wonderful plan... of tomes and talismans!"

There was a series of instructional videos from the mid-1980s, put out by Mississippi educational television, called Tomes & Talismans meant to teach children about how to use the library. Described by my friend Dan, who tipped me off to this classic: "It revolves around a low
budget apocalyptic science fiction plot that is generously interrupted to, for instance, explain the Dewey Decimal System. The story is that everybody that matters is abandoning the Earth, while lunatics are running around trying to destroy books and beat up TV newscasters. Time is running out, but the heroine of the story MUST
RETRIEVE THE LAST OVERDUE BOOK. And there is no indication whatsoever that they were being funny or ironic. Absolutely delightful."

The whole Tomes & Talismans series is posted on YouTube, described there as a "Post-apocalyptic library science educational show from the mid-eighties. Learn all about the Dewey decimal system, card catalogues, and microfiche! And the fate of the Earth, of course." Dan had only watched the first episode, which was was broken down in three section and said the real action is in the third part. Each of the 13 episodes runs just under 20 minutes each.

1. Tomes Entombed— overview of library/research skills and concepts
Part 1 - noisy in the first couple minutes, but it clears up
Part 2
Part 3
2. Fact or Fiction— fact and fiction; alphabetical shelving
Part 1
Part 2: she IS a librarian
Part 3
3. Under Cover— parts of a book
Part 1
Part 2
4. In the Cards— card catalog
Part 1
Part 2
5. The System— Dewey Decimal Classification System
Part 1
Part2 : has most of the Dewey Decimal system laid right out for you
6. Information Quick— encyclopedia; typographical clues
Part 1 music to read your encyclopedia by
Part 2: the watermelon episode
7. Hidden Meaning— dictionary; thesaurus
Part 1
Part 2
8. Preference for Reference— special subject reference sources
Part 1
Part 2
9. Direction Unknown— maps; atlases; world almanac
Part 1
Part 2
10. SOS: Skim or Scan— skimming; scanning; paraphrasing; taking notes
Part 1
Part 2
11. Guide to Light— Reader's Guide; Children's Magazine Guide
Part 1
Part 2
12. Show and Tell— audiovisual resources
Part 1
Part 2
13. Final Report— summarizing reports; concluding research; bibliographic sources
Part 1
Part 2
Fear the Librarian


Saturday, July 26, 2008


For U.S. citizens seeking junior professional posts.

EXAMINATION CRITERIA (all must be met)
1. Be no more than 32 years old as of December 31, 2009 (UN requirement).
2. Have at least an undergraduate degree (advanced degree is an advantage but is not required) in one of the following occupational fields or related areas:
· Administration
· Economics
· Finance
· Information Technology
· Public Information
· Social Affairs
· Statistics
3. Be fluent in English and/or French, the two working languages of the
Secretariat. Knowledge of additional official languages of the UN (Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish) is a definite advantage.

NOTE: The exam may be limited to the 40 most qualified Americans per occupational group.


Detailed information and application forms may be obtained at target=_new>
Examination will be held on February 24, 2009, in New York City and San Francisco.
Travel expenses to and from exam site will NOT be paid by the UN or U.S. Government.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Extraordinary Rendition: The Price of Secrecy

From the American University Law Review.

Sweeping interpretations of presidential power and government secrecy after 9/11 bore fruit in the area of “extraordinary rendition.” Under this doctrine, the President claims to possess inherent authority to seize individuals and transfer them to other countries for interrogation and torture. In the past, Attorneys General and other legal commentators understood that: (1) Presidents needed congressional authority for these transfers and (2) the purpose was to bring the person to trial. Until recently, the Justice Department held that the President could not order someone extradited or rendered without authority granted by a treaty or statute.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Quiet in the library? Shhh!

Editorial from the Chicago Tribune, which I initially found here.

The library, we thought, was a place for study and contemplation, not a hangout for gamers. Yes, we know modern libraries often have more DVDs than Blockbuster, more computers than the local community college and better coffee than Starbucks.

Comic books and CDs can be checked out along with books and magazines. Yoga and wine-tasting sessions supplement story hour, poetry readings and lectures. Some libraries have become de facto senior centers, resource labs for home-schoolers, rehearsal studios for community dance and theater groups . . . but still. Video games? What’s next—miniature golf? Walk-in medical clinics? Taco Bell?

Summer Reading Program

A mid-summer reminder that the NYS Summer Reading Program website has lots of fun games and activities to supplement your own summer reading programs.

-Word games - insect puzzles in English, French and Spanish

-Online jigsaw puzzles - lots of creepy crawlies

-Reading Bug Quiz

-Silly Riddles

... and much more!

And don't forget to make a link to the site from your own web pages.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

APL Branch Construction Update

As construction gets closer for the two new libraries in the Arbor Hill/West Hill and the New Scotland neighborhoods, APL, once again invites the public to a presentation on the designs. While everyone is invited to both meetings, we especially invite our neighbors in the New Scotland/Helderberg/Woodlawn and Arbor Hill/West Hill communities to attend.

Presentations for Arbor Hill/West Hill will be held in the conference room at 200 Henry Johnson Boulevard on Tuesday, July 29 at 7PM and the presentation for the John J. Bach Library will be on Wednesday, July 30 at 7PM at the St. Teresa of Avila School at 8 Hollywood at the corner of New Scotland.

If you'd like more information on these meetings, please contact Tim Burke, our Interim Library Director at 4276-4379 or

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

McAfee Experiment on Spam

McAfee, Inc. released the results of its S.P.A.M. (Spammed Persistently All Month) Experiment, in which 50 people from around the world surfed the Web unprotected for 30 days. By taking part in the experiment, participants were given permission to go where most Internet users would not dare, in order to discover how much spam they would attract and what the effects would be.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Libraries are hip

Libraries have smartly rolled with the new advances in technology.

NYLA - ProQuest Intellectual Freedom Award

The NYLA Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) is seeking nominations for the NYLA - ProQuest Intellectual Freedom Award.

The Award recognizes an individual, group of individuals or organization engaged in activities which have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom in the State of New York.

The deadline for submitting nominations is July 31, 2008.

The link to the NYLA - ProQuest Intellectual Freedom Award web page.

The nomination criteria.

The link to download the nomination form (in PDF format).

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Word clouds

I've read about word clouds, a/k/a tag clouds, how they reflect which words are being emphasized in a website/blog or newspaper or any written document. From Tag Crowd here's the one done on July 15, 2008 of the Albany Public Library website:

created at

And here's one from this blog:

created at

Other sites that can generate clouds are Wordle and the Tag Cloud Generator.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Norton Online Living Report

The Norton Online Living Report "gives a snapshot of how different cultures and different countries approach the Internet and provides insight into how their daily lives are affected by the online world. All the data is constantly changing and will be updated in further iterations of this first bi-annual report."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Library support in America

Now available: new OCLC membership report -- From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America

OCLC was awarded a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to explore attitudes and perceptions about library funding and to evaluate the potential of a large-scale marketing and advocacy campaign to increase public library funding in the U.S. The findings of this research are now available in the latest OCLC report, From Awareness to Funding: A study of library support in America.

Among the findings from the report:

*Library funding support is only marginally related to library visitation.
*Perceptions of librarians are an important predictor of library funding support.
*Voters who see the library as a "transformational" force as opposed to an "information" source are more likely to increase taxes in its support.

From Chapter 1:
"Public library use is growing...But the public not keeping up with demand."

The report suggests that targeting marketing messages to the right segments of the voting public is key to driving increased support for U.S. public libraries.

Purchase a print copy of the report or download a free, electronic version at

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

NBER Economic Indicators and Releases

From the J J Hill Library:

Economics can be intimidating. First, of course, there's the math. But also, it can be hard to track the numerous things that go into the "economics equation." Unless you know about the NBER Economic Releases site.

This site pulls the latest economic reports, information, and updates from numerous government and trade sites and houses it all here. The site is updated daily, and most days see numerous postings. As of this writing some recent updates included: metro area unemployment, American time use, and construction spending.

No non-economist out there will use everything on this site, but if you take a look I bet you'll find something of interest to your line of work. And the NBER can help you keep up-to-date on it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Word Spy

This Web site is devoted to lexpionage, the sleuthing of new words and phrases. These aren't "stunt words" or "sniglets," but new terms that have appeared multiple times in newspapers, magazines, books, Web sites, and other recorded sources.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Survey Says, "Let there be light"

APL is applying for NYS Library Construction Aid to assist the installation of new lights in the auditorium of the main branch. So the library folks are talking to the lighting contractor this week and would love to get your feedback on how the lighting can be improved to create the welcoming community space it really can be. Remember it's multipurpose - community meetings, formal presentations, movies, discussions, activity area for young people and creative space.

Please provide your feedback! Take the 2 minute survey NOW!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Librarians Call for More Black Males in Field

Black men make up a dismal 0.5 percent, or 572 of the 110,000 of the nation’s librarians. And about 1 in 10 Black librarians are men, according to figures in an ALA diversity report issued last year, which were discussed in the ALA conference panel “An Endangered Species: The Black Male Librarians.”

More here.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

"In many communities the library is the third place."

This article from the "Capital Times" in Madison, Wisconsin is full of great ideas for creating a vibrant library. Now that the plans for the APL's branches are being implemented, I find myself thinking more and more about how we are going to re-design the Main Library.


My Times Union blog post mentions: the Fort Orange club parking lot obsession; the underground railroad residence clean-up; and, hey, Albany Public Library.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Pine Hills expected to open tomorrow!*

From APL's Elissa Kane:

Early this morning the library's automation staff moved computers to the Pine Hills Transitional Library at the Elks Club on S. Allen Street . . . which definitely means the doors are in and can be locked.

I know we've been promising for so long and now we're only hours from opening for business. Yea!!!!!! The Pine Hills staff is so eager to see you all again. Thank you for your patience.

*barring any other unforeseen setbacks like chipmunks chewing on data lines or the Elks migrating north.

2008 Senior Sundays in the Park

July 6, July 20, and August 10, 2008
11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Mayor Jerry Jennings, Senior Services of Albany, and Fidelis Care invite you to the Corning Preserve for the 2008 season of Senior Sundays in the Park. The concerts are free, the entertainment is great and lunch is only $2.50. Concert goers also receive a free copy of the Sunday Times Union. Reservations are required through Senior Services of Albany at (518) 456-3325. Transportation is available. Call 1-866-1.866.208.7357 to make your transportation reservation. Plenty of free parking is also available.

Entertainment by: Tony Toscino (July 6th), Judy Polkow's Musical Memories (July 20th) and Wally Hughes (August 10th)

Senior Services of Albany
25 Delaware Avenue
Albany, NY 12210

(518) 456-3325

Enhancing quality of life and fostering independence for all older adults and their caregivers.